The Philippines floundered in both sides at the start of golf competitions in the 31st SEA Games as long-time regional rival Thailand imposed its will early and dominated the men’s and women’s divisions in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam yesterday.
Jet Hernandez, Jed Dy and Gab Manotoc each carded two-over 74s at the Heron Lake Golf Course and fell six strokes behind Weerawish Narkprachar, who set the pace in individual play with a four-under 68.
The Thai led by one over Singapore’s Hiroshi Tai, who fired a 69, while Pongsapak Laopakdee, also of Thailand, and Indonesian Amadeus Chrisitan Susanto matched 70s.
Fancied Thai Rathanon Chantananuwat, coming off a big victory in an Asian Tour event last month, turned in a 71 for joint fifth with Ervin Chang of Singapore and local ace Nguyen Anh Minh.
Kristoffer Arevalo, the other member of Team Phl, wavered with a 78.
The women’s squad of Lois Kaye Go and ICTSI-backed Mafy Singson and young sensation Rianne Malixi all fumbled with 76s and lay nine strokes behind a hot-starting Natthakritta Vongtaveelap and Eila Galitsky, both of Thailand, who exploded with five-under 67s.
They opened a four-shot lead over Malaysian Jeneath Wong and Singapore’s Suanne Loh, who both shot 71, with the rest going over in the first round of the 54-hole championship.
The PH women’s team, then made up of Bianca Pagdanganan, Go and Abby Arevalo, swept the individual and team gold medals in the last SEAG at Luisita in 2019.
The team competition will start on Monday.